Thousands of people flocked to Aberdeen last night for the launch of the city’s popular festival of light.
After a two-year hiatus, Spectra has returned to the Granite City and brought spectacular creatures of the deep to prominent locations including Aberdeen Art Gallery, St Nicholas Kirkyard and St Nicholas Street, and Marischal College.
Last night marked the first of four days of the free lights spectacular in the city, which attracted around 100,000 people during its most recent outing in 2018.
Scheduled to highlight VisitScotland’s year of coasts and waters, the festival organisers Curated Place have attracted artists and pieces from across the world focusing on the city’s rich maritime heritage.
The Edinburgh firm is being paid £175,000 a year over the next five to bring the festival together.
The majority of art installations will be lit up from 6.30pm-10pm and are between Union Street and St Andrews Street, and the art gallery and Marischal College.
Giant tentacles are dangling menacingly from the terrace of Marischal Square and the art gallery, which has extended its opening hours to accommodate the festival.
Nearby to the gallery – which recently received a multi-million-pound refurbishment – the dolphins that can be seen from the city’s harbour will be projected on to the front of the ONE Tech Hub.
Across the road in St Nicholas Kirkyard, atmospheric fireflies and haunting flying predators will be created with an ever-changing array of light and sound.
Inside, a ghostly ship and migratory birds will be projected on to the beautiful surroundings of the Kirk.
Other highlights will include projections of sea monsters, superstitions and magic in the Marischal College quad, while a laser show has been rigged up to depict fireworks on the front of the historic, A-listed building.
Andy Brydon, director of Curated Place, said: “We’ve got interactive light artwork, giant inflatable installations, laser fireworks, light shows, music and loads more.”
“The whole idea is to create a range of really fun and engaging pieces of artwork which will intrigue visitors.
“Many of the pieces on offer are entertaining and family-friendly. It’s not supposed to feel as if you are walking around a stuffy museum.
“Yet several of the installations would be classed as fine art and could easily stand up on their own merit in a gallery.
“It’s just that your perspective of art totally changes when you are outdoors in the dark and looking up at some colourful light show – it seems more accessible.”